There are several Medicare enrollments, and it’s important to understand what you can do during each type of enrollment period.
In this guide, we’re going to explain the difference between Medicare IEP and ICEP and what you can do during both periods.
Everyone has a unique Initial Enrollment Period or IEP when they can begin their transition into Medicare. Your specific IEP begins three full months before your birthday month and extends for a full seven months. For example, if your birthday is on February 20, your IEP runs from November 1 through May 31. As long as you apply before your birthday month, your coverage can begin on the first day of the month your turn 65. The one exception to this is if your birthday falls on the first of the month. In that case, your coverage will start one month prior.
You can enroll in Part A, Part B, and other types of Medicare plans during your IEP for Medicare. As long as you enroll in both Parts A and B, the ICEP will not apply to you. Some people choose to delay their enrollment in Part B when they have other creditable coverage in place. As long as you have creditable coverage, you can delay Part B without penalty. Usually, creditable coverage comes in the form of an employer-sponsored group health plan.
The ICEP applies only to Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans. If you are someone who enrolled in Part A during their Medicare IEP, but delayed their Part B enrollment, you’ll be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period when you decide to terminate your creditable coverage. After you finalize your Part B enrollment, you can start enrolling in other plans like Medicare Supplements, Medicare Advantage (Part C), and Medicare Part D plans.
If you choose to enroll in Part C and Part D, you’ll use the Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP) on your enrollment. Your Medicare ICEP begins three months before your Part B coverage is scheduled to start and ends the last day of the month before it begins.
Beneficiaries who didn’t use their IEP or ICEP to enroll in Medicare Advantage can choose to enroll at another time. The Annual Election Period (AEP) allows people to change their current plan or enroll in Part C for the first time. AEP runs from October 15 through December 7. Coverage begins on January 1.
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We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area which are United Healthcare, Aetna, Humana, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Centene, Devoted, and Scan. Please contact Medicare.gov, 1-800-MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program to get information on all of your options.